Family traditions

I don’t consider myself to be much of a writer. My dad, now, he’s the writer. He is currently writing three books. He keeps a journal which he writes in every day. He has been doing this since I was about one. I’m not going to tell you how old I am, but let’s just say, he’s been writing for several decades. Every time I have ever attempted to keep a journal, I quit after a few weeks, a couple of days, whatever. It just doesn’t hold my interest.

So what does hold my interest? Genealogy! And absolutely everything related to family trees, history, old photographs, clothing and costume history, you name it. I’m one of those certifiable people who show up at family reunions and can tell you how everyone is related. I can even tell you what third cousins, once removed means. I have tracked down family trees of close friends, in-laws, co-workers, just because.  To me, it’s fun, it’s a puzzle, I’ve got nothing better to do (than cleaning house, making dinner for my family, playing with my kids, going to work). I’ve always known about my family’s history. It’s my grandmothers’ fault. I can blame them. They were both interested so they got me hooked. My maternal grandmother was a Mayflower descendant, a member of two hereditary societies. My paternal grandmother did a lot to track down and organize the tree of my grandfather/her husband’s family, Swiss immigrants who arrived in the early 1850s. They even went to Switzerland to meet distant cousins. So what I’m saying is: genealogy is in my blood.

I have become the family’s chronicler and archivist. I am the one people turn to when they have a question about the family tree. When my paternal grandmother died and my father was left with the responsibility of cleaning out her house, he was smart enough to save the things I wanted: the old photographs and the letters that my grandmother had been saving for decades. My grandfather served in the navy during World War II. Like many during the war, my grandparents wrote to each other daily. My grandmother saved all their letters. As the family archivist, this is one mighty boon. I know more about my grandparents today than I did when they were alive. We didn’t live near each other when I was growing up, and consequently only saw them, maybe once or twice a year. One of the things that I have wanted to do for years is to organize those letters and make them available to the rest of the family and frankly, the world. History is amazing! Especially the history of everyday people who live their lives around the big events that shape the world. And someday, hopefully not very soon, I will get to organize and read my father’s journals. It will be another chapter in my family’s history brought to light. And you know what; I might just turn out to be a writer, too. Some things just tend to run in the family.

3 thoughts on “Family traditions

  1. Jacqi Stevens

    Deborah, it’s not just your dad or your grandmother: that penchant to write and to research must be in your genes! And you are right: those letters–and, in the future, your dad’s journals–are a vast treasure trove that will prompt your research and writing. I, too, have been fortunate to receive family letters (primarily my father-in-law’s WWII letters) and personal journals (I’m in the process of transcribing my mother’s right now, and she was also a writer), and I realize what a wealth I’ve received–and want to share!

    I found your blog today, thanks to GeneaBloggers. Welcome! I’m looking forward to reading much more from you. It seems we have quite a bit in common.

      1. Jacqi Stevens

        Don’t worry…learning all that will come with time. There are so many online resources to cover a lot of those topics you are talking about. Just keep writing. And asking questions. You’ll find the geneablogging community quite willing to extend a helping hand. We are all part of a learning community, and share that same passion to pursue the stories of our family history.

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